For the first time in several years I’ve put my recruiting hat on.  Broadlook is expanding and we need to hire about 10 people.  I decided to get in on the ground floor and do the initial outreach to prospective candidates.

Here is what I observed:

The general professionalism of the better candidates was…better.  Does this seem obvious?  Possibly, but what I am talking about is simple things like voicemails and formats of email addresses.

Emails: One of the emails contained the following:  DaddySpankU@(email domain.com). This was in application for a Director level position.  The resume contained the minimum level of experience, but I had to ask myself, “what is this persons level of professionalism?”.  In the end, I don’t care, I’m not going to roll the dice with this person.

Voicemail recordings: Next, I called a candidate and got a voicemail with dogs barking, an obvious party going on in the background.  Again, not professional.   BTW, he also sounded as if he had at least a six pack in him, slurring his words.

Poor Voicemail message: “Yeah, high um, I like got your message and I ahh will send you my resume…. blah blah blah”.   Message deleted.

Voicemail message with no recording:  “You have reached the voicemail number 414-555-1212…etc”.  My goodness, if you are applying for a sales or customer facing position, record a voicemail so people know they are talking to. I want to hear how professional you sound.

Funny voicemail: “If you are driving or over 30 send me an email later.  If you are under 30, send me a text message”.  I liked this guy.  Shows some personality and that is better than an “UM,  Er, Ah, speaking dolt”.   Sales reps should have personality.

Facebook pages: I don’t care if you have a tattoo on your ass.  But putting it as your *Profile* photo on Facebook is a bad choice.  This lady did not get a call.  Ok, nice photo, but I don’t want you representing my company.  Mrs. politically correct in Human Resources may tell you different that you can’t be discriminated against due to something on your Facebook page.  Reality: your application will be deleted and you will never find out why.  No call.  No job.  No explanation.

Regarding your resume.  For the experienced people… dates like 2010-2011 is a huge red flag.  That could be December 2010-Jan 2011.  Fill in all dates.  Good interviewers will ask you to account for all dates and gaps in your work history.  Did you take a 4 months off to travel Europe?  Don’t hide it.  This is a positive thing. What did you learn and grow from it?

Don’t lie.  You will get caught and there is no excuse.  In the first 10 phone interviews, I caught a few people in lies.  The interview immediately ended.  People lie about stupid things.

Example:

“I made $55,000 last year. ”

“Are you sure about that”,  I ask

“Yes.  It might have been a little more.”  (then I got a detailed description of the compensation).

I interjected.  “You do understand that we require copies of your last 3 years of W2 to verify past compensation”.

Pause… then. “Ok, then I only made $45,000 last year”.

“So you lied to me”.  I stated

“I just really wanted the job”.

I terminated the interview.  This is something that he should have learned in Kindergarten.  Funny thing is that his skills would have commanded the $55,000 he was looking for.

What it all comes down to empathy.  Job Applicants need to understand how each and every way you interact with a potential employer looks to the employer. Here are some take-aways.  There are many articles and tips and what to do and not to do.  Here are some of my pet-peeves.

  • Have a professional email address.  DormStalker@gmail.com  FAIL.  Try something like First.Last@something.com
  • Have a clear voicemail message. If your message includes “Um”,  “Er”, “Ah”, “you know”,  “like” (at the start of every sentence),  then re-record it.
  • Fill in all dates on your resume.  If there is a gap, explain that gap.
  • Spelling mistakes on a resume.  Have a friend proof-read it.  Yeah, I’m awful, but I have a job
  • Unless you are prepared to forge W-2’s Don’t lie about compensation.  You will get caught when you are asked for proof.
  • Do what you say you will do.  Return calls when you promise, send paperwork, etc.  Failing in what is required in the job application process is a huge red flag.
  • Don’t treat my assistant rudely.  She has a copy of your resume and will write notes about how you engage her.  She is interviewing you too!
  • Don’t lie.  What you think is important may not be.  Job applicants lie about the stupidest things.